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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Bouk, boulk, n.2 Also: bovik, bowk(e, buik; bowlk, bulk(e, builk(e. [e.m.E. bulk, bulck, heap, cargo, ME. bolke heap, ON. búlke, búlki, cargo.]

1. To breke bou(l)k, to open up and unload the cargo of a vessel; to unpack merchandise.(a) 1402 Dundee Chart. No. 22.
Allegant … that na shipp … aucht to breke bulk or loss, qwhil thai come to the bryg of Perth
(b) 1544 Elgin Rec. I. 80.
For breking of bovik of certane small salt being in his schip
1548 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 132.
Commandand him to bring vp his haill guidis … to this burgh, and nowther to brek bowke nor to mak merchandice thairof … in Leyth
1565 Conv. Burghs II. 480.
It is ordanit … that nane of thame sall brek bouk nor mak merchandice quhill the time that thair gudis be housit
1573 Reg. Privy C. II. 251.
That nane of thame tak upoun hand to brek bowk or losse ony maner of gudis [etc.]
1578 Ib. 662.
Sic personis as bringis hame wynis, brekkis bowk thairof [etc.]
1602 Conv. Burghs II. 138.
Giff the skipper be myndit to brek bowk before he cum to the place quhare he was hyrit, … he may lauchfulle do the samyn
1641 Stirling Chart. 122.
That … nane of thame presume … to brek bouk, top or sell ony of thair wares, … befoir [etc.]
(c) 1548 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II. 142.
His falt … in bying of certane pryssis [= prizes] and breking bowlk thairof
1592 Reg. Great S. 679/2.
Quod nulla navis … debuit exonerari nec frangere boulk quousque venisset ad dictum burgum
1602 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 310.
The merchant, skipper and awners sall fynd cawtioun … nocht to brek bowlk nor sell the samyn [timber] before pryce be maid be the toun
1614 Conv. Burghs II. 449.
All merchands that sellis thair awin geir … to give vp at thair first arryvall before boulk be brokin … , the iust quantitie of thair geir
1641 Acts V. 541/1.
That there they may disloadine and breke builke

2. A quantity of some article of merchandise. 1580 Conv. Burghs II. 509.
Ilk quantitie or bowlk of lambskynnis estimatt … for jc to be sett to ane barrell, … ilk bowlk of futefaillis … to be set to twa barrell
1599 Elgin Rec. II. 71.
Na fishes to be sauld … quhill the prayeris be said, nor yit na bouk of fishes to be brokin
1620 Jedburgh B. Rec. 7 June (MS.).
Gif there be never so many [cakes] in ane bouk, he shall only take ane
1624 Ann. Banff I. 52.
It is ordanit that … everie barrell bouk of uther guidis pay twa pennyes Scottis

3. Bulk, size. The bouk, the greater part. c1550 Rolland C. Venus i. 508.
Like ane auld stok or as ane rottin tre, Berand greit bouk quhair sould be leuis grene
1581 Sat. P. xliv. 122.
Sen for loun Villox to be ȝour crounal strang, Quhais heid and schoulders ar of bouk aneuch
1596 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI. 15.
This tikett I wrot that thir lettirs sall not beir bowk
a1689 Cleland Poems 78 (J).
And still a kirkman at the nuike o't, Though old Colquhoun should bear the buick o't

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"Bouk n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Jan 2023 <>



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